One of my favourite dishes here in Turkey is Kisir its so simple yet tasty and healthy. I think every Turkish housewife has her own variation of Kisir which is traditionally served during Kisir parties, where the ladies get together to drink tea, eat delicious homemade Kisir and pastries while putting the world to rights.
This is my personal version of Kisir which I make for a simple dinner or light lunch. When I serve Kisir as dinner I like to boil a chicken breast and shredded it to add on top of the Kisir. For lunch I tend to serve just the plain Kisir.
Ingredients for my Kisir
1 1/2 cups of Bulgur (I like to use a course grain bulgur)
2 or 3 Peppers red or green or both
1 large Aubergine
1 medium Courgette
1 medium Carrot
1/2 a tablespoon Red Pepper Paste
1/2 a tablespoon Tomato Paste
Chicken Stock Cube or Vegetable
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Chicken Breast Boiled (optional)
Method for the Kisir
First cook your Bulgur, in a pot heat a dessert spoon of oil and then add in your Bulgur stir your bulgur around in the oil for a couple of minutes, don’t let it fry or burn you just want to heat your Bulgur through (this is my MIL method) then add in your stock cube and salt to taste. Pour over your hot water till it covers the bulgur you want the water to be about a mm above the Bulgur. Allow to boil then leave to simmer. Once the water has been absorb, take the Bulgur off the heat and cover with a clean towel or kitchen roll and place the lid on. Leave for 10 min, then remove the lid and cover and fluff up with a fork. Let the Bulgur stand for another 10 min.
For more on cooking Bulgur see my article on Cooking Bulgur
While your Bulgur is cooking, chop up your vegetables, you can use any variation of vegetables you like or just what you have in the house. You want to chop your vegetables finely so they are small pieces.
Now heat some oil in a pan and add in your onion and allow to soften and then add in your other vegetables. Allow your vegetables to soften, then add in half a tablespoon of tomato past and half a tablespoon of red pepper paste, (note if its hot pepper paste you may want to add less) Mix the paste through your vegetables and add in your seasoning and red pepper flakes. If the mix looks a little dry add in some water, you don’t want it to be to dry.
Once your vegetables are cooked, take your bulgur and add in your vegetable mix and stir through the Bulgur making sure to coat all of the Bulgur with the mix, this make take a minute or two of mixing to make sure its all coated.
I also often add in a handful of chopped Parsley.
Now your Kisir is read to serve, you can shred your chicken breast or leave it plain. I like to sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the chicken breast for a little extra flavour.
Traditional Kisir Recipe
1 cup of fıne bulgur
1 cup of hot water
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp pepper paste ( hot or sweet)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small onion
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 green peppers
bunch of spring onions
2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp mint flakes
1 tsp cumin
lettuce leaves (optional)
Take a large bowl and mix your hot water, tomato paste and pepper paste together. Now add in your bulgur and 1 tsp of salt. Stir your water mix, bulgur and salt together once (you don’t want to stir to much) and then cover the mix with a kitchen towel and leave to soak up the water for about 10 minutes.
Cut your onion into wafer thin half moon shapes, sprinkle some salt over the sliced onion and then rinse and remove any excess water.
Remove the cover from your bulgur and fluff it up with a fork. Then add in your pepper flakes, ground cumin, mint, oil and pomegranate molases (if you don’t have it leave it out), lemon juice and your sliced onions.
Finely chop the peppers, spring onions, cucumber and parsley and mix through the bulgur.
Traditionally Kisir is eaten with lettuce leaves, you can serve it on a lettuce leaf or leave at the side and then wrap some Kisir inside the lettuce leaves and eat. You can also serve some tomatoes alongside.
Kisir is also nice served with a refreshing glass of Ayran.
© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.